Stop calling me Greta from India

Eight-year-old climate activist Licypriya Kangujam from Manipur, often labeled “Indian Greta Thunberg,” rejected the comparison and asked the media to acknowledge her identity and story. “If you call me ‘Greta from India’, you are not covering my story. You are erasing a story.” she tweeted.

Kangujam received global attention when she addressed the COP25 climate conference in Madrid, Spain, in December 2019. The activist, who has already spoken in 21 countries, gave the world a glimpse of her resolve by urging world leaders to ” act now “.

It was after the COP25 summit that the Spanish newspapers hailed her as the “Greta of the South”, PTI reported.

On Monday, Kangujam addressed the label and said: “Stop calling me ‘Greta of India’. I am not doing my activism to look like Greta Thunberg. Yes, she is one of our inspirations and is a great influence. We have a common but I have my own identity and history. I started my movement from July 2018, even before Greta started. “

Kangujam further said that he had addressed world leaders at a UN event in Mongolia in July 2018, which is a month before Thunberg’s protest outside the Swedish parliament, demanding action against climate change, had allegedly started. . “Since then I started my movement called ‘Children’s Movement’. In Hindi, we call it ‘Bachpan Andolan ‘ appeal to our world leaders to take immediate climate action. “

She added that the media first noticed her when she spent a week in front of Parliament since July 21, 2019, but that she has opted for limited publicity because she felt her work “was more important than the organization.”

“I even dropped out of my school since February 2019 (before the Grade 1 final exam) when I was only 7 years old due to my weekly protests in front of the Indian House of Parliament. I sacrificed much of my life at this tender age, no be called ‘Greta of India’.

Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist, became the face of the global fight for action against climate change after protesting in front of the Swedish parliament for a year since August 2018. In December 2019, TIME magazine named her as the ‘Person of the Year’.

In December, when Kangujam was invited to speak at the COP25 summit, her family found it difficult to receive funds from the Center for the trip. According to her father, KK Singh, who accompanied her to Spain, several requests to the government to help her with the funds fell on deaf ears, PTI reported.

Singh said the family emailed sponsorship requests to various ministers, but received no response. He said that after trying to finance his trip, a person from Bhubaneshwar booked his tickets for Madrid.

“My mother broke her gold chain and finally booked my hotels,” said Kangujam.

However, Singh added that just one day before leaving for Madrid from India on November 30, they received an email from the Spanish government that they were going to sponsor their accommodation for the 13-day event.

Kangujam had to drop out of school in February as he was unable to attend most of his classes. Activism, including taking part in a weekly protest outside the House of Parliament, took most of his time.

While her fight against climate change will continue, the activist has not given up on the dream of pursuing her education fully. According to Singh, Kangujam is the youngest climate activist in the world.

With contributions from agencies

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